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3 - Weathers of Body and World

Reading Difference in Literary Atmospheres before Climate Change

from Part I - Historical Shifts in Climate Consciousness

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 March 2022

Adeline Johns-Putra
Affiliation:
Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China
Kelly Sultzbach
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, La Crosse
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Summary

This chapter outlines three methods for reading climate and weather in literary texts while resisting both universalism and anachronism. First, climatological reading focuses on genre, while also drawing on the poststructuralist feminist and antiracist method of making specific absences present. In contrast, meteorological reading harnesses the rhetorical terms metaphor and metonymy to carefully parse the weather’s localised specificities. The concept ‘weathering’ is then introduced to bridge the historical spatial and temporal distinction between climate and weather. Throughout, the chapter demonstrates how to connect readings of power and difference to an analysis of climate and weather. The methods are described by engaging with a range of literary historians, theorists, and ecocritics and illustrated by way of the reading of two famously weatherworn canonical texts, Wuthering Heights and King Lear, and lesser-known pieces by Claudia Rankine and Simone de Beauvoir.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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